Tag Archives: books

Running is All Around Me!

I feel like the late spring/early summer running season is in full swing! Running related info is filling my inbox, my mailbox, my twitter feed. I love it!

In case you missed it, NYRR is offering a free workshop for marathoners next week:


Join NYRR and Hospital for Special Surgery for a FREE Learning Series on June 19 from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. EDT. Experts from Hospital for Special Surgery will be sharing their best tips on training, injury prevention, and nutrition for beginner runners and anyone considering a future marathon.

If you can’t be there in person, you  can Register for the Webinar. You will receive an e-mail prior to the event with the webinar link and login information.

In addition, this lovely surprise arrived in my mailbox yesterday:


I love books about running. I enjoy reading about running as much as actually running. I can’t wait to dive in and see what Runner’s World recommends in their latest book, The Big Book of Marathon and Half Marathon Training.  Run Less, Run Faster is one of my favorites, so it’s exciting to have a new runread.

Despite all my running excitement, I am actually dealing with a minor (I hope) injury.

I ran the Bolder Boulder and was fine…


Or so I thought.  I flew home that night, got off the plane and bam, there was a pretty significant pain at the top of my right quad.  I was still hobbling the next day.  Over the past two weeks, I have had this pain on and off and have had to limp a bit, especially after sitting for long periods.  I stopped running,but felt fine for UFX, Refine and the elliptical. It’s mainly walking that is the issue.

However, I was signed up to run the JP Morgan Challenge last night, and so I did!  It was fun to see all the different companies in their shirts.  The 3.5 mile race in Central Park was pretty painful, but the real pain happened after I finished.  This morning I had a serious limp. I am going to stretch, ice, tiger balm, rest and hope for the best. From basic googling, it could be a hip flexor sprain or a quad tear.

If it doesn’t feel better in a week, to the doc I go.  Fingers crossed for recover before the Queens 10K.

Queens 10K

Running Questions part 2

Hi, I received a few more good running questions!  For part 1, see here.


 First, Tami from Journey of a Runner  asked: do you have any good track workouts?

I found a couple for you Tami!

First, I recommend the All American Rejects Speed Workout, I do it on the rooftop track at the gym a lot.  My favorite part is when they say:

“Kick butts, lean forward as you drive your heels into your butt, it looks really awesome, strong quads right here.” 

Here are two workouts from my TNT training, we used the reservoir, so the track would be fine!:


  • 1st Round: Run easy 1.5 miles-effort around 6.
  • 2ndRound: Run 1.5 miles, 15-20 seconds faster than first round
  • 3rd Round: Run 1.5 miles, 15-20 seconds faster than your second round (30-40 faster than first)
  • 4th Round: Easy 1 mile cool down

Fartlek Speed run:

  • Warm-up 5-6 minutes
  • Run .5 miles HARD, recover .5 miles
  •  Run .75 miles HARD, recover .5 miles
  • Run .5 miles HARD, recover .75 miles
  • Run .75 miles HARD, recover .5 miles
  • Cooldown 8 mins 

Finally a couple from the book, Run Less, Run Faster:

  • Warm up 10-15 minutes–easy jogging followed by four 100 meter strides, stay comfortable and watch form, accelerate for 80 meters until you approach 90% of full speed then decelerate for last 20 meters.  Follow this with 100 meters of each: high knees and kick butts. (it looks really awesome)
  • 6X 800 meters with 90 seconds recovery between each interval.  Try to keep each of the speed intervals very similar in time.
  • cool down 15 minutes

Workout 2:

  • warm up as above
  • 5 x 1000 meters (2.5 times around standard track) with 400 meters recovery walk/jog between each interval.
  • cool down

Margaret , who is training for a half, asked if I had any training tips.

Let’s see, last year I did a post with general “get started with running tips” in my so  you want to be a runner posts 1 and 2.

Some of the advice from those posts definitely applies to training, but for more training focused ideas, here are a few things that have worked for me:

  • Concentrate and time, then distance, then speed.  The time on your feet is what is going to prepare you to get across the finish line.  Even if your longest training run is a few miles shorter than the race,  if you have prepared by doing long runs at a comfortable pace, your body will be equipped for the extra distance.  This is because in training 8 miles may take you an hour and a half, but in a race you will be running faster and it  may only take you an hour and a half to run 9.5 miles, the excitement will carry your through the last .5 easily. Next get used to distance, it will become a lot less scary.  I remember when 5 miles was TERRIFYING, but a gradual increase of 1 mile (and occasionally 2 miles) per week, and suddenly 18 was surprisingly simple. Note: you have to build the base, there is no safe way to get around it, take it a mile at a time.  One you have distance down, then you can concentrate on speed.
  • A note on speed training, this is something I am working on doing more of, so for now I suggest saving it for one  or two shorter runs a week.  Pick a distance that you feel comfortable pushing beyond your comfort zone, but not so long that if you go too hard you will die half way through (5 miles of less).  Most runners suggest a tempo run and an interval run each week.
  • Don’t give up your other favorite forms of exercise.  I know if I only ran, I would resent it and get bored.  I try to fit in spinning, core fusion, the elliptical and anything else I feel like doing to stay motivated and keep running “fresh.”
  • Try joining a local running group, enroll in a training course or just finding a friend to run with.  While I am practically engaged to my ipod, nothing makes the miles slide by unnoticed like a good chatter. I have one friend that I would love to have podcasts of, she can just tell story after story, it’s great!
  • Mix it up with coached runs.  I like to download them from itunes Nike Sport Music–click music and it is on the left hand sidebar.  I haven’t been disappointed any of  my purchases, yet and they really get me through longer runs or boredom! I mean when kara Goucher is cheering you on, you can’t feel good about bailing early.
  • Don’t be afraid to spend a little money.  I am kind of cheap.  When I started, I was convinced running was the ultimate no frills sport, so I didn’t want to buy anything.  However, adding a little tech or at least proper running shorts to your daily jaunt can make a huge difference in your running or at least your cute factor–and come on we often overlook how the cute factor puts spring in our step.  Some of my much debated, but very helpful purchases include: race ready shorts, shot blocks, nike running jacket, hat and gloves, fuel belt, hind ventilated running tank, and hopefully, my brand new garmin. Oh and NEVER EVER skimp on SNEAKERS. I am not yelling, just passionate about it :)
  • Sign up for races to prepare yourself for crowds, how your body will need to be fueled, your racing pace, and drinking on the run!  The first four separate occasions I tried drinking while running, I ended up with water going up and out my nose, in my eyes or just all over me…anywhere but down the hatch!  Definitely practice this skill! When you master it, you will feel like a runner! Plus, you won’t have to stop and walk during the race.
  • Pump the tunes and refresh your playlist often.  I just added quite a few to my own ipod today, most of them were from my sister Kristen’s suggestiosn yesterday, how did I live without Kanye’s new work out plan or little of your time by Maroon 5 for so long?  I also added Don’t Trust Me by 3OH!3, Knock You Down by Keri Hilson and We Made You by Eminem.
  • Mentally prepare ahead of time. I think positive self-talk is critical to a good long run or race. Days before a particularly daunting run/race, I literally talk to myself about how great it is going to be and go over my coach’s advice to get in the right mental running place.  This might not be necessary for everyone, but it truly helps me stay positive and trample any mind negativity during a run/race. My first running blog, the little runner that could, reflects this.  I still occassionally say to myself, i think i can, i know I can, i knew i could when times get tough.
  • Get Psyched! For me this is reading, blogs like Chandra’s and Meghann’s, books on running, magazines on running, and when available, movies on running, such as Spirit of the Marathon.  If there is a local marathon nearby, definitely go watch, cheer, and get amped.

Hope that helps!  Good luck with the half!!!

Running thoughts through my mind

For a few months I have been going back and forth about whether I want to run the More Half Marathon on April 26th.  It would mean winter training, which is really not my cup of tea.  I also find when I have pressure to run, I enjoy it less. I am also seriously worried about getting injured before NYC.

However, after getting excited about my friend Jess’s first half marathon this weekend, I decided to sign up.  Registration is only $20 bucks and includes a year subscription to Fitness Magazine, can’t beat that with a stick. (I have never used that phrase in my life, weird.)51b81wdfo5l__bo2204203200_pisitb-sticker-arrow-clicktopright35-76_aa240_sh20_ou01_

Anyways, I am going to try to follow the Runner’s World Run Less Run Faster 3 plus 2 plan.  However, after reviewing it, it is far too intense for me at this point.  So I am going to use the 10K plan and just extend a couple of the long runs, in all honesty, the 10k plan would be enough milage on its own.

So week 1 looks like this:

Speed workout:

10-20 minute warm up, 8x 400 m w/ 400 m recovery intervals, 10 minute cool down

Tempo Workout:

1 mile warmup up, 3 miles at short tempo pace, 1 mile cool down

Long run workout:

6 miles at long tempo pace

So that is the 3 part of the plan, plus 2 cross-training workouts with intensity and purpose.

I will probably do some strength and yoga too if I have time.

In addtion to my core strength vinyasa, I did the Fitnessista lower body workout (fabulous-thanks Gina!) and about 20 minutes jogging on the treadmill.

Plus a decent amount of stretching.  My friend injured her ankle twice while running and she has found that stretching it very well before and after has made a huge difference in recovery and running strength.  6a00d83452cb5569e20105371ae60a970b-200wi

So I am really being careful to stretch the IT band out before and after running.

All right, I am going to finish watching the Grammys, so far so great!  Simon Baker looked hot, Coldplay was fun, and Carrie Underwood–girl crush!carrie-underwood-grammys-red-carpet-2009-131

Running Book Reviews: Thumbs Down, Thumbs Up

I found The Runner’s Diet very disappointing, especially as it is put out by Runner’s World, which is usually a great source of information.
My main issue with the book is that in the corner it says for both new and experienced runners. This is not true, this is for people who have never run before and want to take up running in order to lose weight. Not for athletes interested in learning more about the best way to fuel their bodies for the sport. I guess I should have headed the amazon reader reviews! I think Runner’s World Performance Nutrition for Runners: How to Fuel Your Body for Stronger Workouts, Faster Recovery, and Your Best Race Times Ever may have been what I was after.
Madelyn Fernstrom, the author, makes good points on needing to start with a diet and exercise plan you can stick to. Her target audience seems to be primarily people who have trouble sticking to a program long term. The overall tone of the book was not inspiring or optimistic IMO.
Her coverage of actual nutrition is brief. However, she does make a few good points, especially that runners do have to watch calories and that gels and sports drinks are often unnecessary, even for those running long distances.
One thing I found interesting was that she suggested a 50% carb, 25% protein, 25% fat ratio. This is so you have the carbs you need for energy, but the protein and fat for satiety. I think this is the best advice in the book because carb loading is so unnecessary, and if running makes you hungry, you want to be filled up! I will try to up my protein.
Her suggested diet plan was a 7-day 1200 calorie diet with fairly boring foods, and certainly not very much food! She does give a mathematical formula to figure out your calorie needs, so you can increase from that starting point.
On the nutrition end, this book was written for someone who knows very little about nutrition, however, my main problem with book was that there was hardly any running suggested. There was a walking plan and a very modest running plan for just twice a week to start. And even the “running” plan included walking. I am pretty sure experienced runners can handle 30 minutes without needed to build up to it with walking intervals. That was confusing, I can’t imagine someone who had never run before feeling the need for a book about running nutrition. The book would have been more aptly titled “Here is how to build from walking to running a few times a week and lose weight with the help of a calorie controlled diet.”
Okay on to the THUMBS UP review.
I admit it, I love autobiographies. I just do! This book was translated, so I am sure the Japanese version was even more poetic, but I truly enjoyed this book. And as I have never read any of Haruki Murakami’s other books, I am excited to check out his literary works. This book was relaxing an calming to read. It is not incredibly exciting, heroic or inspiring, like Ultramarathon Man or Swimming to Antarctica, but that almost makes it more relatable to the average reader. Nevertheless, Murakami has ran 25 marathons, so he is quite accomplished, but he is so humble that his loosely woven story of reflections seems almost attainable. Even the casual runner can surely relate to his thoughts about running.
Here are a few of my favorite quotes:
“If you live in Boston, Sam Adams (Summer Ale) and Dunkin Donuts are essentials of life. But I discovered to my delight that even these indulgences can be offset by persistent exercise.”

“I’m the type of person who doesn’t find it painful to be alone.”
“I’m on a leisurely jog along the Charles River, girls who look to be new Harvard Freshman keep passing me. Most of these girls are small, slim, have on maroon Harvard-logo outfits, blond hair in a ponytail, and brand-new ipods, and they run like the wind….They all look so bright, so healthy, attractive, serious, brimming with self-confidence….Have I ever had such luminous days in my own life? Perhaps a few. But even if I had a long ponytail back then, I doubt if it would have swung so proudly, as these girls’ ponytails do.”
“I’m not a human. I am a piece of machinery. I don’t need to feel a thing. Just forge on ahead. I repeat this like a mantra.”
“You can not finish a marathon if you are half-hearted about it.”
“Cycling training alone is, truthfully, pretty tough. Long runs done for marathons are lonely, but hanging on to the handlebars of a bike by yourself and pedaling on and on is a much more solitary undertaking…sometimes it strikes me as an intricate form of torture.”

“One by one, I’ll face the tasks before me and complete them the best I can. focusing on each stride forward, but at the same time taking a long range view, scanning the scenery as far ahead as I can. I am, after all, a long-distance runner.”

Racing through my summer reading list

I have two weeks before classes start and I have read no books this summer! I used to be the biggest bookworm, I guess now I am a blogworm. But I intend to get through as many of these as possible in the next two weeks. My week on the Cape/Martha’s Vineyard should help me make a dent.

In no particular order:

Above: recommended by friends and soon to be movie…How To Lose Friends and Alienate People

Answered Prayers, halfway through, so good, but can’t seem to finish!
A classic that I borrowed from the library, Woman in White

Just treated myself to this with a 25% off Borders coupon: Runner’s World: The Runner’s Diet.
Finally broke down and bought What I Talk About When I Talk About Running. I keep reading it at Barnes and Nobles, so good! PS Way cheaper when you buy it at Borders.com. Again another treat, very long stressful week at work. :(

Dean, my hero, haha! I loved Ultramarathon Man, so I need to read this also of course.

If you are looking for some literary runspiration, I recommend Marathon Woman by Katherine Spitzer or Ultramarathon Man by Dean Karnanzes or Marathoning for Mortals by John Bingham.

There are so many good ones out there, but those I can vouch for. I hear Running with Buffaloes is also stellar, and while I am at it, you can’t beat this title: Anything for a T-Shirt Fred Lebow and the New York City Marathon, the World’s Greatest Footrace by Fred Lebow.
I have a few more book recommendations on my about me post.

xo, Meliss

Download Dilemna

I have really been slacking on my running lately. I am kind of regretting not signing up for a team in training event. It was so easy to commit to running with a group. I keep saying that I will go the Niketown runs, but I seem to always have something to do after work.

So for the past few weeks (yes, 2-3 weeks), I have been researching and obsessively reading reviews for coached runs to download to my ipod. I have to thank Jenna for giving me the idea. She raves about yogadownload.com, so I decided to look more seriously into downloadable exercise programs.

I founds some good sites:

Itrain This site is kind of amazing, they have tons and tons of workouts for all types of exercise–cycling, treadmill, elliptical, strength and sculpt, yoga and pilates, and stretching. It looks really good, but I haven’t tried it yet, so I can’t say for sure. Has anyone used it? Would love to hear some opinions! Programs run from 20, 40 to 60 minutes and cost around $10 each.

Yogadownload– I downloaded the free 20 minute poweryoga class and it was pretty challenging! I am also considering the coached runs, they are only $3-5!

Nike+ Sports Music-I don’t think that the Nike Sports Music has the best selection of coached runs and workouts, considering it’s itunes, they could do better. But I really like having the reviews to help me make decisions. And the workouts are by pretty notable athletes, ahem, Serena Williams and Lance Armstrong.

For literally two weeks, I have been debating which to buy, at around $15, you really don’t want to get stuck with a crappy workout. That’s like 15 songs worth! Plus, I am really picky about my music and so many of them are too rock or techno for my taste.

So were are the finalists:

Serena Williams-Interval Run-I liked this but, I already owned most of the songs.

Lance Armstrong-Run longer coaching mix

The Anytime/Anywhere series-particularly the indoor conditioning and the outdoor conditioning run. All of these workouts looked good, and I think I will try the Anytime/Anywhere Outdoor one, for a fun refreshing change of pace. It is cardio with intervals of push ups, etcs. mixed throughout.

Songs: 01. Let’s Get It Started (Black Eyed Peas)02. Don’t Phunk With My Heart (Black Eyed Peas)03. Timebomb (Beck)04. Say Goodbye To Love (Kenna)05. Somewhere Only We Know (Keane)06. For The Girl (The Fratellis)07. Lay Down The Law (The Switches)08. Where It’s At (Beck) 09. The Middle (Jimmy Eat World)10. Sorry Sorry (Rooney)11. Come To You (Carina Round)12. Chase The Light (Jimmy Eat World)13. Stop Stare (One Republic)

It is basically an interval run. 4 minutes hard, 4 minutes recover, 3 times with a 5 minute warm up and cool down. I was a little disappointed that there wasn’t more variety. I really LOVE my Master the Treadmill with OKGO mix, which is NEVER boring, so I was hoping for something kind of like that.

However, it was a good workout, the music was good. It’s 40 minutes, a great length of time. You can do it on the treadmill or outside, although you will have to be really focused to maintain a hard run for 4 minutes without the treadmill keeping pace for you.

I think it also could have used a few more comments about form. There was like 2 in the entire thing, the first one at minute 23, “get off your heels and onto your toes.” However, it was great to have someone check in with you every minute or so. I will definitely be doing this again soon, and probably downloading a few more of these as treats in the coming months.

For a few more reviews of the Nike Sports Music Workouts, check this out.

Yay to all those who ran the NYC Half yesterday!
Oh, for anyone looking to read more about running, there is a book called What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murami, that is all the rage in the running world. I hope to pick it up soon, with my 40% off Borders Reward Coupon! This is not really instructional, but biographical/inspirational. Just an FYI! (Other books I like include, Ultramarathon Man and The Runner’s World Complete Book of Running. I hear Running with the Buffaloes is amazing, but haven’t read it myself. Finally, the highly coveted, impossible to find, Once a Runner. I would love to read this book, it’s supposed to be glorious, but it is almost impossible to get a hold of. If you happen to find it while wandering in some dusty, small town, second hand book shop, snatch it up, and consider yourself a lucky thief! :)